Don’t let Satan trick you into thinking that God can’t use you because of your past sins. If and when God calls you to speak, encourage, advise, write, pray, teach, act or minister in accordance to His Word – do it! Remember the great heroes of the Bible that God used in spite of their past sins:
Abraham – the liar
Moses – the murderer
Jacob – the deceiver
Rahab – the prostitute
David – the adulterer
Peter – denied knowing Christ
Paul – the persecutor
Sounds to me like we all pass the eligibility test!
One of my many pet peeves is when people say they “can’t” do something. Not because they physically can’t or because something is truly preventing them from doing so, but because they simply won’t and refuse to try.
It bothers me even more so when Christians declare they can’t do something.
Now, most people who know me will tell you that I’m a very disciplined person and that if I set my mind to something or set a goal for myself that more often than not, I will get it done. However, I will tell you that none of that comes easily or even naturally for me. All my self-discipline and self-control comes from God. And the same Spirit that lives in me, lives in every person who professes to know God as Lord and Savior – His Word tells us so.
That being said, he declares that through His Spirit, we have and can exercise self-control/discipline in any aspect of our lives. So lets stop making excuses! Excuses for not following through on that diet, not going to the gym, not cutting back on drinking or smoking, not spending time with our kids, not saving money, not sticking to our budget, not going to church, etc.
Anything in your life that is physically within in your means to do it, that you want to work on, or get better at – lets set a goal to do so. Lets ask God to help us exercise more self control and discipline by the power of His Spirit – trust me, you won’t be able to do it alone, even if you tried!
Sometimes the consequence or punishment for our sin is simply delayed blessings.
In the Bible, it took the Israelites 40 years to make what is estimated to be an 11 day trip to the Promised Land. And only because God had cursed them to “wander in the wilderness” for 40 years because of their sin.
Don’t let sinful habits/situations/people keep you from the blessings that God is literally holding out for you to take hold of……the promotion, new place, new car, answered prayer, financial blessing, breakthrough, healing, etc. Sometimes its not God holding our blessings back or him trying to teach us patience. Sometimes its us holding ourselves back, because we are allowing sin to be a barrier that is keeping us from reaching our “promised land” and we end up wandering around in the wilderness. Days, weeks, months, even years go by, when all we had to do was obey.
God doesn’t disappoint us, people and circumstances do. Then we turn around and blame God. God is the one constant in this life. His Word tells us who He is and He never once fails to be exactly who His Word says He is. Unlike God, none of us have the capacity to be perfect unfailing creatures. I’m learning to digest and embrace this fact. In doing so, I am more understanding, patient and forgiving – towards others and myself. Don’t forget, that we too have, can and will disappoint others as well.
So I’m a compulsive planner – literally. I write my grocery lists out in order of how they are located in the store (and will even adjust based on the layout of which Walmart I’m going to). I re-write my to-do lists in the order of how they should be done that day. I iron clothes for myself and my son a week prior based on events, weather, etc. I plan out my budget down to the bag of Laffy Taffy’s that I purchase every other Friday from the Dollar Store. I plan out every moment of my vacations, including tentative naps and lounge time. I plan out my Children’s Sunday School lessons, down to the amount of time I’ll allow for prayer. Yea, I know, it’s a little much lol. And God forbid, “my plan” for the day gets thwarted in any way, shape, or fashion – I’m thrown off completely! I get anxious, stressed and frustrated!
However, lately I have been learning to be more spontaneous and most of all to allow room for God’s “planning” in my life. It was in the midst of devotions one morning recently, that God spoke to me and said “you can’t plan everything, you have to leave room for me to work in your life”. Now we all know that having a plan or making plans is never a bad thing. However, what we often fail to do is to include God in our plans.
I’m planning to move to a new apartment within the next 3-6 months and that planning process has turned into me planning the next decade of my life! I didn’t just map out furniture and décor, I’ve started trying to plan where my son will play basketball or ride his bike. How much will I have free in my budget each month to save towards my next overseas vacation or cruise? What online courses should I start taking to get a better paying job to be able to move into a house 5 years from now? What part-time work can I do now for some extra cash? Should I start a fund for my future grandchildren (mind you, my only son is currently just 10 years old)? Do I want to go sky-diving for my 40th birthday (3+ years away)? Where do I want to move to once my son goes off to college? Do I still want to get that personal trainer certification?
This was all on my “things needed for the move” list! LOL
Ever since I was kid, my mind has always gone a mile a minute and I often think of what feels like thousands of things at once! I think, and think, and think and think, and then I get anxious, overwhelmed, and eventually a headache of frustration. I’m just now learning at 36 years old, that I need to do less thinking and planning and more praying and trusting in God. I keep a pocket bible and devotional handy at work, in my car, in my purse and at home so that no matter where I am, if I ever start to get an onslaught of compulsive anxious thoughts, I go straight to His Word to shift my focus and then once my mind calms down, I immediately start praying. Sometimes I’ll just keep reading a verse out loud over and over until it sinks in and resonates with my soul.
Through this, God has been teaching me, slowly but surely, to continue planning while surrendering my plans to Him for approval, change or denial based on His Will for my life. The thing is, God’s plan is always the best plan for me, even though I don’t always realize it at first. After all, God already knows our future and has already mapped out the “ultimate plan” for our lives. We just need to sit back sometimes and let that plan unfold.
I’m learning to extend more and more forgiveness to others. After all, God has forgiven me for ALL my sins. Plus I may need someone else to forgive me one day too.
Why do so many Christians today want to “experience” the power of God in their lives, but yet want little to nothing, to do with the source of that very power – the Word of God?
It’s sad that most of us fail to realize just how much power we inhabit and have at our disposal through our relationship with Christ. And its even sadder that most of us won’t take time to pick up our Bible to begin to really tap into that power.
“Why do we think that God changes/adapts who He is and how he operates based on the time period, culture, society, or world in which we live?”
Indeed, our methods of conveying Christ will change/enhance especially with technology today….and praise be to God for allowing us countless ways of reaching people all over the world with the gospel message!!! However, the actual message of salvation, the Word of God, and God Himself has not and will not change! He does not adapt His Word to suit our “modernized” practices, traditions, ways of life or compromises of sin just because they are “acceptable” today.
“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” – Acts 13:22 (NIV)
I love the fact that God called David of all people, “a man after his own heart”. In fact, God chose him and appointed him ruler over Israel, because of this. Why is this relevant/important? Because God, being God, knowing ALL things including what was to come – chose David and identified him as a “man after his own heart”. If you don’t know the full story see I Samuel chapter 16 and then II Samuel chapters 11 and 12 for context.
In the story David is chosen by God to be Israel’s new king. After many successful victories, David ‘falls’. Long story short, he lusts after a married woman, sleeps with her and gets her pregnant, befriends her husband (one of his own soldiers) and then puts a plan in place to have him killed in battle. David’s plan succeeds and the other man is reported dead. Then this ‘man after God’s own heart’ lets the wife mourn briefly, then marries her to ‘cover up the affair’, she has the baby and they continue with day to day life as if nothing has happened! See you haven’t seen a real Lifetime movie until you’ve read the Bible!
God then sends his servant Nathan to confront David regarding the situation, as well as, to pronounce the punishment that God has set forth, which is not a light one at all:
Samuel 12:7-12 (NIV)
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
After all this, there is no denial, no excuses, no lying, and no running away. David simply responds as follows:
This response, is genuine, basic, straightforward and true. In his words of confession that “he has sinned against the Lord”, David not only acknowledges his sin, but he shows agreement with God by calling what God has deemed as sin to be sin. It is this very reason that God seeing David’s heart, and knowing exactly what sin David would commit when he appointed him as king, that God still considered him to be ‘a man after his own heart’. David wasn’t perfect, Continue reading →
This week God has been reminding me that not only do I need to trust in Him to do what He says He will do, but that I also need to remember to acknowledge Him in all that I do.
Webster’s dictionary defines “acknowledge” as follows: to accept or admit the existence or truth of. So if the Bible tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways so that He can direct our paths, that tells me that if in fact we proclaim to “trust” in Him, that we would display that “trust” by acknowledging his presence in every aspect of our lives. So what does that look like on a daily basis?
For me, its when I pray for a new job, acknowledging that God is Lord of my life, and committing what I want into His hands, but at the same time asking Him to show me what His will for my life is. In other words, “God, I want to work in education and instructional design so please direct me to a position where my skills can be utilized, but if there is something else you want me doing instead, please show me and direct me accordingly.”
Its letting God know my concerns about my child’s schooling and instead of trying to figure it out all on my own, acknowledging His sovereignty over my life, and asking Him to help me make the right decision.
Instead of just going out and buying a much needed new vehicle, its acknowledging God as provider of all things, and asking Him to direct me to the right dealership, with the best price as opposed to purchasing the car of my dreams that I really can’t afford. Continue reading →